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What to Do with Those Hot Peppers from Your Garden

Food Chopper, Hot Peppers, Pickyourown, Preserving Tomatoes


Hot pepper plants are an easy garden plant to grow, and they produce plenty of peppers all summer long. If you are anything like me, you have several different varieties growing in your backyard garden. There is a limit to how many hot peppers that anyone can eat fresh off the plant. Ideas for ways to prepare them and preserve them for future use are what you need now. Make the most out of your hot peppers with this easy pickled hot pepper relish.

Pepper Plants

If you have a variety of pepper plants, ranging from jalapeno to habanero, never fear, you can mix them all to make a delicious pickled pepper relish. A small garden will not yield enough at one time to make a huge batch of pickled peppers, but you can combine all of your peppers together to make a tasty relish.

I have a backyard garden comprised of 4 raised planter boxes. I devoted one of the boxes to pepper plants. I have 2 bell pepper plants and 4 different varieties of hot peppers. All of these can be utilized in the hot pepper relish, including the bell peppers.

Picking your peppers

Many hot peppers will change colors as they ripen, but they are useable at different times also. A Hungarian wax pepper will start out green and then turn yellow before ripening to red. When the peppers turn red is when they are the hottest, but these peppers can be used in various degrees of ripeness. I usually wait until they are yellow with some red beginning to show. Pick as many peppers as you can at one time. These are what you will use for your relish.

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Chop your peppers

For a relish, you should chop the peppers finely. This will get tedious unless you have a hand food chopper to help. A chopper will speed up the process greatly. Also chop up onion and bell pepper and garlic. Combine all of these together and mix well. Remember to wear rubber gloves when handling hot peppers, or wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water. Touching your face or eyes with your hands after handling the hot peppers will burn. I recommend wearing rubber gloves, because even after washing my hands several times, I still felt the burn from the peppers.


I have included a link below to instructions on how to make the brine for pickling your peppers in. I reduce the recipe for the brine because I do not have enough peppers at any one time to make that amount. The important thing is to remember the mixture of vinegar and water is equal. Add a small amount of pickling salt and a touch of sugar.


I use pint canning jars for my hot pepper relish. When I made my last batch I managed to fill 3 pint jars. You should be able to make your hot pepper relish approximately 3 different times during the course of the summer. Sterilize your jars and lids. Fill your jars with your hot pepper mixture and pack down. Leave approximately one half inch head room in the top of the jar. Pour your brine mixture into the jar. I find that using a funnel is helpful to me. Wipe around the top of the jar to clean before placing the lids and rings on them.

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Water Bath

When your jars are ready, place them in a pot filled with boiling water for 10 minutes. Carefully remove them from the water and set them aside to cool. As your relish cools you will hear the lids pop as the jars seal. Any that don’t pop are still useable, but will need to be refrigerated and used within a few weeks.




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